Cancer Family: Part III, Losing Her
No one wants to talk about death. We know it’s out there and that we must face it one day, yet we choose to ignore it until we are forced to confront it. My family had to talk about death. We needed to understand it, and prepare for it, and in doing so, we began to realize what it truly means to live.
My father lost his life to pancreatic cancer in December of 2013. He lived with the disease for exactly one year, and just like that - he was gone. While grieving the loss of my father, my family was facing the reality of a very sick mother. She had been living on and off with breast cancer for almost 19 years, and was also mourning the loss of her best friend and husband of 34 years.
This work focuses on my mother’s last weeks of life. She died in December of 2014, just one day shy of the anniversary of my father’s death. I examined the process of dying, with a focus on awareness and gratitude for the time we had while my mother was still alive. The experience was both profound and devastating, and I'm grateful to have the documentation and memories from this time.
My mother did not want to be defined by her disease. It was just a part of her life, and a situation she needed to work through. She lived each day appreciating life, family, and the world around her. This work portrays our last days with our mother - creating new memories, sharing family stories and holding on to the woman we once knew and loved.